Regulation key building block to drone integration in NZ, gov’t says

The Ministry of Transport identifies key characteristics of a regulatory system for successful integration of drones into society

Regulation key building block to drone integration in NZ, gov’t says

Regulation will be a key building block in the successful integration of drones, the New Zealand government said in a new paper.

The Ministry of Transport’s Taking Flight: An aviation system for the automated age report said that New Zealand is a world leader in unmanned aircraft because of its reputation as a safety regulator, its “open for business” mentality, and its risk-based regulatory regime. It said that the country wants to retain these advantages and remain at the forefront of drone development by ensuring that New Zealand’s approach to drone operations harnesses the many opportunities, while addressing the challenges they bring.

The ministry said that time is a critical factor for maintaining a leading position in drone development, which is why the government has initiated a cross-government program to achieve drone integration. It has identified four complementary building blocks to achieve this integration, which are regulation, funding and investment, infrastructure and technology, and research and development.

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The government said that effective drone regulation is vital to fostering and supporting effective integration and creating social license. However, poorly designed or unresponsive regulation could create potential barriers to integration of beneficial activities.

“For New Zealand to fully realise the benefits of drone operations, our regulatory system needs to be flexible, enforceable, proportionate, equitable, consistent with relevant international standards and practices, and have scope to evolve to respond to changing circumstances or new information on the regulatory system’s performance. Regulation should be designed to support integration and be regularly reviewed and adjusted to ensure this,” the report said.

The transport agency said that like all aviation regulation, restrictions in activity will continue to be necessary to ensure that safety and security are maintained.

It said that there is a need to continue raising awareness of the rules, regulations, and safety requirements for drone operations. This can be done through education, improving how the government communicates with the public, and ensuring visible enforcement of regulations.

There is also a need to better understand what commercial and recreational drone operations the public is comfortable with, which will likely help address public concerns about drone operations, it said.

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